Running is an incredibly rewarding hobby. It’s good for the circulatory system, helps build endurance, and can even boost your mental health and mood by releasing certain neurotransmitters. However, it can take a lot of energy to manage a long run. Here are some nutritional tips to help you fuel your runs and get more out of them.
- Make a Diet Plan
Having a plan for what you’re eating is imperative for keeping your nutrition on track. Aim for a sensible, realistic diet plan that suits your lifestyle and needs. Start by analyzing what you’re currently eating by keeping a food diary, then analyze where you might be missing things. Are you eating breakfast? Does running in the evening leave you exhausted and starving? Identifying what you might need and when you might need it is the first step to ensuring that you always have adequate fuel.
- Snack Frequently
Having small snacks throughout the day – also known as grazing – can help you keep your energy levels more consistent and help you avoid low blood sugar and tiredness by the time you want to run. Make sure that you’re snacking on healthy foods, rather than junk. Replace the chocolate and chips with snacks that are a good mix of protein and carbs – fruit, nuts and nut butters, plain popcorn, and yogurt are all great options.
- Eat Proper Meals
While snacking can help you have consistent energy, it doesn’t mean that you should be ignoring your three squares a day. High-carb meals such as pasta, brown rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, and quinoa are great for giving you energy before a run. Beware, though: some of the most carb-rich foods are also high in fat.
- Don’t Just Rely on Supplements
Vitamin supplements are great for giving your diet a boost or helping you fill a void, but you shouldn’t be relying on them entirely for your nutrition. Try to ensure that you’re getting most of your vitamins and minerals from the food you’re eating – eat varied foods to get the most nutrients as possible.